Sports Direct takes punt on Goals Soccer Centres
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Sports Direct takes punt on Goals Soccer Centres

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Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has widened his burgeoning leisure portfolio by taking a 4.94 per cent stake in five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres.

Shares in the Aim-listed Goals jumped 11.5 per cent to 145p in afternoon trading yesterday (16 November) after Ashley took a stake worth just under £4m via a contract for difference (CFD) – leading to speculation that the move could be a precursor to a larger deal.

Market analysts said a takeover bid could follow, but added that the move may also be a “curtain raiser” to start talks over sponsorships or synergies with Sports Direct, or simply a speculative investment.

In addition to the Sports Direct retail empire, which has recently grown to include 30 Sports Direct Fitness gyms, Mike Ashley also owns Newcastle United Football Club and has a stake in Rangers.

Goals Soccer Centres currently operates 46 UK locations and one in Los Angeles. The company has seen shares slump recently and issued a profit warning in September, slashing pre-tax profit forecasts for the year to between £9.3m and £9.8m, blaming adverse weather conditions.

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Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has widened his burgeoning leisure portfolio by taking a 4.94 per cent stake in five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres.
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